Creating Space for Juneteenth and Beyond: 4 Insightful Questions Answered

Creating Space for Juneteenth and Beyond: 4 Insightful Questions Answered

A year ago, George Floyd’s unjust death sparked one of the most stirring social justice movements in American history. And today, the fruits of its labor have begun to bloom. On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed a bill that made Juneteenth — the commemoration of the end of slavery in America — a national holiday.

As the consciousness of racial injustice rises, it’s crucial that we take advantage of this momentum to echo the stories of our black brothers and sisters to as many people as possible. That’s why we teamed up with ThinkHuman and 15Five to host a webinar about the black experience and how we can show up for black employees in June and beyond.

Here are answers to four of the most insightful questions from the event. We are so grateful to each and every panelist for joining and helping to drive this meaningful discussion.

1. What does Juneteenth acknowledge to you?

“It acknowledges that we as black people are human beings. This was something that came up last week when we had one of our calls and we were talking about how companies like to say, ‘Oh yeah there’s got to be a business case for these efforts.’ Oh really? There’s got to be a business case for a human issue? There’s got to be a business case for blackness? There’s got to be a business case for my existence? When you think about it from that lens, you should really just flip that conversation on its head. Doing right by humanity means acknowledging the rich history of what has happened and what has occurred, however painful it is.” — Robert Gordon IV, Business Development at Flockjay

“We’re not just doing this for black people. Our white counterparts have to understand that this is also important to them because this is a part of their history. This isn’t just black history. There were certain things that your ancestors did or didn’t do that contributed to this very day. Recognize that. We have to embrace certain things that we love and hate. We may feel ashamed of our history. But what this helps us do is move the needle. And I’m not just talking about black people’s issues but issues with white people’s history as well. Let’s do the work. It takes both of us to do it.”

 

Hakemia Jackson, ThinkHuman

2. How do you equip our White, Latin, and Asian brothers and sisters with the weapons to speak on our behalf?

“Accept your own privilege. As a white person, you have privilege. And if you are deeply curious, the first step is just accepting the fact that you have that privilege and that you’re not going to be right all the time. You might make some mistakes, but if you’re leading with empathy and genuine curiosity, that’s a great initial step.” — Robert Gordon IV, Business Development at Flockjay

“The reality is that sometimes we just don’t want to make a 100% commitment. I was reminded yesterday that it was the one-year anniversary of everyone posting those black squares on Instagram. At least 80 of my friends posted that black square. Black, White, Latino, Asian, etcetera. But my question is what’s been done in the last year on your end? What have you done since then to show solidarity, action, and support for the community? That alone is one big question to really look at internally and understand if I’m just being performative or if I actually want to celebrate and support this community.”

 

Aaron Crutison, Technical Recruiter at Loom

3. What does it look like to truly stand in solidarity with your black talent?

“Set me up to thrive. Give me the coaching. Give me everything that I need. Acknowledge that I might not have had access to the networks that some of my colleagues might have had access to. Acknowledge that I might need additional support. That’s what equity is — the redistribution of resources. Don’t simply bring me in and then right when I’m floundering blame it on me. No, you set me up. You brought me into a situation where you’ve done no work to make the environment inclusive. You’ve done no work to make it equitable. And as a result, I am not thriving here.” — Francesca Walker, Instructional Designer & Facilitator at ThinkHuman

“Allowing space for healing, community, and celebration. Dismantling internal structures that have historically been intentional in holding black brilliant talent back from advancement. Checking your privilege at the door. Allowing us to exist.”

 

Robert Gordon IV, Business Development at Flockjay

4. If an organization wants to establish Juneteenth as a holiday, how should they go about that?

“Start having conversations with your black team members. Part of taking this step is having those uncomfortable conversations internally and checking yourself at the door both from the perspective of leadership and the perspective of the thesis for your company. Just diving headfirst into those uncomfortable conversations and making sure that you’re just being extremely intentional around the why. Extremely intentional around the support. And extremely intentional around forward momentum in progress.” — Aaron Crutison II, Technical Recruiter at Loom

“Speaking to the why and intentionality of celebrating Juneteenth, one thing that’s really important is that when you’re rolling this out, it’s not simply that everyone just takes the day off. You need to acknowledge that there is work to be done here and there are some of us in this country and in this organization that still have work to do. Consider attending workshops where you can explore these systemic issues and the ways in which racism is at the root of it all. Take the day to reflect and get the education that you need. Don’t just take the day off.”

 

Francesca Walker, Instructional Designer & Facilitator at ThinkHuman

Watch the full Juneteenth webinar

Ready to further your understanding of how to create space for Juneteenth and beyond?

Watch the full webinar recap here.

Learn more about Flockjay’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging here.

7 Sales Development Questions Answered by a Leader at GitHub

7 Sales Development Questions Answered by a Leader at GitHub

After graduating from St. Olaf College in 2008, Keshia Hohenstein, the Global Director of Sales Development at GitHub, got accepted into the Leadership Development Program at Quad/Graphics, a commercial printing company.

For the next nine months, she would do three-month rotations in different departments of the business such as manufacturing, marketing, and customer success. By the end of the program, Keshia was convinced that she wanted to pursue a career in marketing.

However, after enough of her friends, parents, and professionals in her network recommended that she at least consider a career in sales, she decided to check it out. “Whenever people would ask me what I wanted to do, I would tell them that I wanted to have plenty of autonomy, work in a group setting with a lot of camaraderie, and have healthy competition,” says Keshia. “That’s sales in a nutshell. So after my rotational program, I decided to take the plunge. I ended up loving it.”

Keshia was gracious enough to share her time with our internal flock and lead a weekly fireside chat for current students. We host different leaders each Monday in an effort to offer our students access to authentic, successful, bold industry leaders! Keshia shared insights on everything from interviewing, to becoming a badass SDR, to being a woman and person of color in sales. Read on to see what you can learn from Keshia that will help you on your career journey.

Keshia Hohenstein’s Journey Into Tech Sales

Keshia went on to work in sales at Quad/Graphics for the next three years, where she fell in love with the art of selling. But she also developed an itch to work in an industry that could make a bigger impact on the business world as a whole.

Soon enough, she realized that the tech space could scratch it. However, since she didn’t have any experience working in tech, she struggled to even land an interview.

“I applied to 30 or 40 companies and was also trying to get my foot in the door at other companies, but I got auto-rejected by a bunch of them. And honestly, I don’t necessarily think there was a skills gap because I had some sales experience at that point, but I just had zero tech sales experience,” says Keshia. “These companies interview tons of people who have tech sales experience, so they weren’t as interested in somebody who came from a different background.”

To overcome this obstacle, Keshia decided to apply for a broader range of roles at smaller-sized companies. She knew that she only needed one company to take a chance on her and that when they did, she was going to carve a career in tech. She knew the passion was there.

In 2012, Keshia landed her first job in the tech industry as a Corporate Account Executive at ClearSlide. Seven years later, she not only rocketed up the sales ladder, landing a role where she heads up the global sales development team of over 50 SDRs in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Japan, but she also rocketed up the tech ladder by doing it at GitHub.

Read on for Keshia’s direct answers to the five top questions asked during our fireside chat. 

1. How do you ace an interview?

“After you do enough interviews, you’re going to hear some of the same questions. Don’t let that tire you out. I’ve interviewed somebody who had already done a bunch of interviews with our team and I felt like he had just had a super long day. It wasn’t a good interview. So always make sure to bring the energy.”

“I also try to find out what you’re telling me through your actions. Within the time frame that we’re interviewing, I’ll take note of what you say you do and what you actually do. That way, I can line up your resume with your actions and see if everything’s consistent.”

“Additionally, be your authentic self. You don’t want to get hired into a role because you faked it because now you’ve got this persona to uphold. So be you and be honest with what you want out of the company. It will shine through.”

Key Takeaways: Bring the energy, make sure you can walk the walk, and be your authentic self.

2. What does the day in the life of an SDR at GitHub look like?

“It varies, but I would say you’re going to slice and dice your time between following up on emails and following up on LinkedIn. We don’t make as many calls anymore because emails and LinkedIn are doing great. So you gotta make sure that you’re sending out those messages.”

“We also have our SDRs sit in on their Account Executive’s calls to glean some best practices. Then, when their AE trusts them enough and believes they’re good enough to lead a call on their own, they let them take the reins. Their AEs will give them feedback after. And if that goes well, they’ll let them sit in on the entire sales cycle because they want to prepare them for their next role. It’s like having the training wheels on.”

“On the flip side of things, our SDRs are always learning about the product and the company. They have to understand the product that they’re selling. And since we have a multitude of products that have a lot of different industry use cases, there’s a ton of different personas and value props that they need to know. There’s no shortage of material to learn, so they need to take the time to study our solutions.”

Key Takeaways: Following up with prospects through email and on LinkedIn, sit in on AE’s calls and track prospects’ entire sales cycles to prepare for next role, and constantly learning about the product. 

3. What does a top SDR look like in your eyes?

“I’ve had some SDRs get promoted lightning-fast, like I’m talking about two rounds of promotions in three months. So these things can happen quickly if you come in and learn fast. To do this, the top trait to possess is having a growth mindset, where you constantly solicit feedback. Anytime somebody gives you feedback, take it like the gift that it is. 

It takes a lot of thought and attention to give somebody solid feedback. The best gift you can give back is to implement their recommended changes and ask for more feedback after. Showcasing that you’re hungry to learn, that you want to keep pushing forward, and that you’ve got thick skin is huge.”

“The next best trait to possess is a strong work ethic. Sometimes, you don’t want to send that extra email, but the person that does is doing what everybody else didn’t want to do, kind of like Michael Jordan. You gotta make sure that you put that hard work in every day, not just in quick spurts or binges. You gotta be consistent.” 

Read: Flockjay Grad Elise Cox Promoted Twice Since Breaking into Tech

“Another top trait to possess is a sense of urgency. You can do something tomorrow or next week, but if it’s going to make a big impact, why not do it now? Let’s make it happen. And the stuff that’s not going to make a big impact, it’s okay to leave for later. So let’s just zero in on the stuff that is making things move.”

Key Takeaways: Adopt a growth mindset where you’re constantly asking for feedback, develop a strong work ethic, and have a sense of urgency.

4. What are some of your tips for giving elevator pitches?

“Tailor your responses. For me, if I look at a company and see that they’re hiring a bunch of app security people, I’m going to talk to them about advanced security and how we make it easier and faster. Or if I see that they’re hiring a bunch of engineers, I’m going to ask if they need help onboarding — fast — and if they want them to be good from day one.”

“At GitHub, a lot of people have heard of us in the open source community, so they’ll ask us why they would ever use us for their huge company projects when they’ve only used us for their side projects. It seems risky. But that’s where we re-educate people and meet them where they’re at. So instead of giving a pitch about why they should use our enterprise solution because it has so many great features, we start the conversation off with questions about how they use GitHub in their personal life, what exactly is the open source project that they’re working on, and if it’s code that they’re going to use at work. The reason being is that I want to get an understanding of where they’re at before I give my elevator pitch. However, every prospect’s style is different. Sometimes, people will just be like, ‘Nope, just tell me what GitHub does.’ If that happens, I start at a really high level.” 

“As you all are practicing your pitch, just know that it’s okay to fail often. Honestly, that’s what it’s all about. When I first started in sales, I was like, ‘Oh, I have to say my pitch in this exact manner. I’m young, so I need prospects to see me as a mature sales rep who has been doing this for years.’  But eventually, one of my first managers sat me down and gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten: ‘Imagine you’re talking with one of your best friends over wine. That’s how your pitch should be — conversational.’ So just relax. It’s not a high-pressure situation. Everyone’s human at the end of the day.”

Key Takeaways: Tailor your pitch to the prospect’s specific situation, get an understanding of where your prospects are currently at, and talk to your prospects like you’re talking to one of your best friends over wine or coffee.

5. How do you handle objections? 

“Back in the day, I cared a little bit less about being perfect. Try to think about taking calls that way. So imagine somebody answers your call and says, ‘Oh gosh, I just stepped into a meeting or I’m in the middle of a meeting right now and I can’t talk.’ Normally, people would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.’ But what I would say is, ‘Oh, that’s so strange. You picked up your phone during a meeting.’ Then I would let that sit for a few seconds.

Eventually, they’d be like, ‘Uh, okay. I have a couple of minutes.’ Other times, my prospects would hang up right away, so I’d call them right back and say, ‘Oh gosh, we must’ve gotten disconnected. I’m not sure what happened.’ And they’d say, ‘Yeah, okay, go for it.’ Obviously, when you do this, don’t be rude. But it’s okay to play around with prospects a little bit. It’s okay to think logically about some of the things that prospects say to you, especially the stuff that stands out.”

Key Takeaway: It’s okay to call your prospects out for giving you an illogical objection.

6. How do you manage being a woman/person of color in sales?

“Most sales teams have lots and lots of white guys, but the good thing about sales is that there’s a scoreboard. For me, I wanted to prove my worth through my actions. If I’m not at the top of that scoreboard, maybe I don’t deserve the respect that I think I do. So I hunkered down and just thought, ‘Where do I need to get to?’ I once worked at a company where there was a pushup contest on the sales floor. And while they were doing that, I was the one on the phone closing deals. I was like, ‘I’ll let you do your pushups because I’m still looking at the scoreboard, where I want to be at the top and stay at the top.’ For me, I was very focused on proving my worth through my numbers so people would take me seriously.”

“In regards to micro-aggressions, they suck. But that doesn’t mean you should interrupt back. Because that won’t make it better. Let them finish. But make sure to speak up after. Don’t just let it pass. The only caveat here, though, is that you need to know which battles are worth fighting for.

When I first got into tech sales, I wanted my colleagues to feel convinced that I could do this. But did I feel that every day? Did I feel that every minute? Definitely not. There are moments that feel so strange. Even in my role today, I second guess myself like, ‘Oh, am I really here? Is this really my job? How did I get here?’ Just know that it’s okay to doubt yourself sometimes, but make sure to take a step back, look at what you’ve already done in life, and, most importantly, believe in yourself.”

Key Takeaways: Prove your worth through numbers by working hard and hitting quota, speak up about micro-aggressions before they pass, and trust it’s okay to doubt yourself. You’ve got this.

7. How can you leverage Flockjay to make a move up in your career?

“Flockjay has more clout than you think. I’ve talked to a lot of different industry leaders who definitely know who Flockjay is. One of our newest members on the Sales Development team at GitHub actually came from Flockjay. And they’re probably a month or two away from a promotion. So lean into the coursework and lean into what you’re learning.

You might not have sales experience right now, but you’ve invested in a program like Flockjay, which is giving you that experience. So during your interviews, talk about some of the skills you’ve acquired. Talk about some of the tech tools you’ve mastered. Use these things to your advantage. You should also use Flockjay to prove that you’re dedicated because you’re actually doing something to get into tech sales.”

Key Takeaway: A lot of leaders in tech sales have heard of Flockjay, so speak to the skills that you’ve acquired, the tools that you’ve mastered, and the level of commitment you’ve given during the program in your interviews.

Thanks again to Keshia for joining us to share her expertise, and to our Tech Fellows for submitting thoughtful questions and participating during the live conversation! We appreciate you. 

New to Flockjay? Read real student testimonials to learn more about our program. 

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?
How to Make Working Remotely Work for You

How to Make Working Remotely Work for You

The pandemic has made working remotely a necessity for many people, and it comes with both enjoyable benefits and challenges to conquer. Each person’s experience is unique and it’s up ultimately to you to really build the remote foundation you need for success. Brittany Leverett, an Alumni Success Manager at Flockjay, recently discussed some WFH tips with a panel of Flockjay employees and alumni:  

  • Dunetka Cussi, Success Advisor at Flockjay
  • Toby Ukandu, Account Executive at Stripe and Senior Sales Trainer at Flockjay
  • Nagieb Musaid, Admissions Advisor at Flockjay and Former Tech Fellow at Flockjay
  • Elise Cox, Customer Success Advisor at Gusto and Former Tech Fellow at Flockjay

We shared Brittany’s top 5 remote work tips first and now it’s time to hear from the rest of the panel. From nailing your WFH routine to unplugging from work to 5 fun work activities to help get you through the pandemic, here’s what they had to say. 

On Nailing Your WFH Routine

When COVID-19 shut down virtually every office across the country, millions of daily routines and workflows were turned on their heads. No more morning commutes. No more lunch with the team. And worst of all, no more happy hour. 

Fortunately, most of us have been working remotely for over a year now, so we’ve been able to develop a solid WFH routine. However, there’s always room for improvement, especially since we’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future. 

One of the ways Nagieb Musaid has honed his work routine is by creating his own commute. Prior to the pandemic, his commute was almost three hours long, which allowed him to hone his skills through music, podcasts, and audiobooks. But after a few months of working from home, he started to really miss his commute. So he decided to put matters into his own hands. 

“I started doing a little 10-minute commute, where I squeeze in two to three songs,” says Nagieb. “I try to be quick, but that’s like my meditation. That’s how I try to cool off and just get back to being me again.” 

Another way Nagieb keeps his day running smoothly is by testing his equipment and making sure it works correctly. In his own words, you don’t want to get caught slipping. 

“You don’t want your camera or audio to be messed up,” says Nagieb. “Also, consider upgrading your internet. If you need to do it, it’s worth it. Think of it as a work expense and, if you can, try to negotiate that into your pay as well.”

For Toby Ukandu, adjusting to the shift to remote work cropped up an even tougher challenge: Starting a new job. Toby joined Stripe in the middle of the pandemic and had to connect with his entire team through Zoom, which he found difficult since most of his team had already developed relationships with each other in person. But Toby didn’t give up on forging meaningful bonds through Zoom. He just pivoted his focus to making a few, deep connections rather than a lot of shallow ones. 

“I’ve been trying to find a few people throughout the company that I can develop a real connection with instead of just spreading myself wide and trying to talk to as many people as possible,” says Toby. “I do think it’s important to get out of your network and talk to different people in different departments, but you could spread yourself a little bit too thin doing that.”

If you’re like Toby, you also might feel like you need to hit the ground running at your new company. But he actually recommends doing the opposite, especially when you work remotely. 

“I think starting off working from home, you felt like you had to fill in the space with anything, even though they weren’t necessarily valuable,” says Toby. “Instead, just do less and focus on what’s actually valuable. And honestly, I’m taking advantage of that to spend time with my family as much as I can. So be sure to take advantage of that benefit too.” 

Elise Cox also echoes Toby’s sentiment on doing less when you work remotely. 

“When we come into a position, we want to outperform. Everybody’s like, ‘What’s the top person doing? I’m going to beat them’, says Toby. “But working from home, it can get overwhelming. So see how the second or third or fourth person is doing and just stay around there for a while, otherwise it can get overwhelming. Just stay in the middle, chill a little bit, get used to what you’re doing, and just manage what’s happening. Once you get your bearings, then you can be like, ‘All right, I’m coming for the top dog now.” 

On Unplugging from Work

When you work in the same place that you live, it’s easy to let your professional life bleed into your personal life. You not only have less to do in your free time but you also literally can’t leave your work. So how do you avoid tipping the scales of your work-life balance?

According to Elise Cox, who balances her career while being a loving mother and grandmother, setting a hard stop time for work every day is one of the most effective ways to maintain your work-life balance. If you have little ones in your life too, Elise suggests sitting them down for a clear conversation to express which hours you will routinely be unavailable to them and why. Then, when work is over – walk out the virtual door and stick to it! 

“I actually have a red end of the day, where I block my calendar for the last hour and a half of the day, just in case someone tries to throw something in there. But when that time comes up, I slam my laptop down. Like I’m done. I have to walk away. It’s honestly a great feeling. ” says Elise. “You have to be protective of your personal time because it’s so easy for it to bleed over. And don’t forget to turn those Slack notifications off.”

Nagieb Musaid also sets a hard stop time to end his day. But to make sure that he actually sticks to it, he makes an appointment at the gym so he literally has to leave his house.  

“I started going to the gym at the time that I want to stop at,” says Nagieb. “It gives me a reason to get out of my office, get out of my room, and actually do something else, which is good for my mental and physical health.”

If you’re struggling to find time for yourself within your busy schedule, check out the Reclaim calendar assistant for help with improving flexibility. 

5 Fun Work Activities to Help Get You Through the Pandemic

Work obviously has a professional nature, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, especially when we’re cooped up in the house all day. 

Here are some fun activities that our panelists do to get through the day at home. 

1. Get Goofy at Work 

“I love my onesies, and I love giraffes, so every Wednesday, I will put on my giraffe onesie and let folks know if you want me to turn on my camera, they’re going to see me with my hood on. And it just lightens the mood. And then if you are doing Zoom, they have a whole bunch of beta testing where you can put on mustaches and all kinds of other things. So we’ll have meetings where I walk in and  have a mustache and a beard on, and it’s just because, ‘Hey, why not?’” – Elise Cox 🦒 

2. Cook New Meals 

“One thing that I love to do between work is trying new recipes. It brings me a lot of joy. I just like cooking food that’s nutritious and delicious. I take care of myself and my family that way. That’s something that I love to do while working at home. It allows me to be more creative.” -Dunetka Cussi

3. Meditate at the Beginning of the Day

“Before I start my day, I do a little ten to 15-minute meditation to get that Zen and sharpen my mind. I’ve seen an improvement in my focus over the last two to three weeks. I’m still a newbie, but I’ve seen an improvement in my concentration during interviews and on the phone. I’ve even been doing it on my own and just feel like it’s helped me out so much. It’s night and day.” – Nagieb Musaid

If you’re unfamiliar with meditation or simply haven’t gotten around to giving it a try – now is the time! Check out Meditation 101 and try the Headspace app, it’s great for beginners. 

4. Get Your Smells Right 

“I’m all about my candles. I’ve tried a whole bunch of different kinds of candles. I gotta make sure my smells are right. I light a candle upstairs, downstairs, really everywhere in the morning.” – Toby Ukandu 🕯️

5. Develop a Morning Routine 

“I have this really intense morning routine. And if I don’t do it, I feel like everything breaks, and I just need to go back and try again. But I get up, I work out, and I make my breakfast and eat it in my workout room. And then I’ll listen to something positive or a random book in the shower. And then I can start work. But all of those things have to be done. I can’t break from any part of the process, but that’s become my hour and some change before I can come and talk to everybody.” – Brittany Leverett 

Make Working Remotely Work for You 

Today, right now, is a great time to start putting some of these tips to good use. What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to be patient and stay curious as you lay the foundation for your most productive remote work environment.

If you are seeking more opportunities to learn and work remotely, consider learning more about Flockjay’s 10-week tech sales training program and applying. We’ll help you launch a new career in tech sales, even without prior experience or a college degree. And with the state of remote work, many of the opportunities you’ll be applying for after graduation will have immense remote flexibility. Look into it and please let us know if you have any questions!

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?

5 Remote Work Tips to Boost Happiness and Productivity

5 Remote Work Tips to Boost Happiness and Productivity

 We’ve officially been working from home for a year now, but there’s always still room to grow, especially since we’ll be working remotely for the foreseeable future. 

Fortunately, Brittany Leverett, an Alumni Success Manager at Flockjay, recently moderated a Lunch & Learn about working from home with a panel of Flockjay employees and alumni: 

  • Dunetka Cussi, Success Advisor at Flockjay
  • Toby Ukandu, Account Executive at Stripe and Senior Sales Trainer at Flockjay
  • Nagieb Musaid, Admissions Advisor at Flockjay and Former Tech Fellow at Flockjay
  • Elise Cox, Customer Success Advisor at Gusto and Former Tech Fellow at Flockjay

Here are five quick remote work tips that Brittany shared that can not only boost your happiness during the day but also your productivity. After that, read more remote work tips from the full panel here.

1. Take regular breaks throughout the day

When you work from home, it’s easy to just sit at your desk and keep plugging and chugging away at your work. Obviously, you’ll take breaks to get water, eat, and go to the restroom. But those aren’t enough to sustain your energy and focus throughout the day. 

“There are a lot of different types of breaks that you can take to better care for your mental and physical health while you work, like playing with your pets, taking them on a walk, or hanging out with your kids,” says Brittany. “Watching an episode of your favorite show during your lunch break is even a great way to recharge.” 

2. Have your favorite snacks ready at your disposal

“No one likes working with hangry people, and you’re bound to get hungry throughout the day,” says Brittany. “So consider buying snacks that you can quickly pull out in-between meetings or during your breaks.” 

Snacking is also a great way to keep your tank full and avoid stuffing yourself during lunch, which can lead to the dreaded food coma and, in turn, an afternoon lull.

3. Do walking one-on-ones

Switching things up not only freshens your day but it can also skyrocket your creativity. That’s why skipping the traditional Zoom meeting at your desk for a walking one-on-one meeting on your phone is one of the best things you can do when you work from home.  

“Walking one-on-ones also allow you to explore your surroundings or run some errands at home, all while connecting with your colleagues,” says Brittany. “This is especially beneficial when your work or personal life has gotten a bit overwhelming.”

4. Set alarms to remind you to take breaks and stop working

Sometimes, you need an alarm to remind you to get up and stretch, go walk the dog, get outside, drink water, or whatever you need to do to take a break.  Additionally, you might need another alarm to remind you to stop working. 

“We’ve all had nights where we worked until 9:00 pm, especially during the pandemic,” says Brittany. “But it’s definitely healthier to set a cut-off time so you can respect your time and your work-life balance.” 

5. Connect with coworkers 

Working from home can get a little bit lonely sometimes. It can get even worse when you’re new to a company and don’t really know how to connect with your new colleagues remotely.

A few ways to start socializing at work are to schedule bi-weekly lunch breaks with co-workers and attending company events.  At Flockjay, we have a different team host our weekly happy hour, which is called Friday Wine Downs. We also have a bunch of different identity groups that meet on a consistent basis.

“Odds are, your company hosts events and has identity groups, so don’t be afraid to join them,” says Brittany. “It might seem a little intimidating at first, especially if you’re new to the company, but everyone will likely be super welcoming and excited to have you there.”

Stay Productive While Working from Home 

We might be at the beginning of the end of COVID-19, but WFH is here to stay. Be sure to reference this blog if you’re ever struggling with remote work. We hope these tips can help you boost your happiness and productivity! Hear from the full panel when you read How to Make Working Remotely Work for You

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?

From Number Crunching to Tech Sales with Pedro Morfin

From Number Crunching to Tech Sales with Pedro Morfin

Pedro Morfin, a former Tech Fellow at Flockjay and a current SDR at Gusto, an HR platform for small businesses, recently sat down with us for an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) interview. As someone who successfully pivoted from finance to tech sales, we talked about everything from Pedro’s Flockjay experience to his day-to-day at Gusto. Plus, he shared parting words of advice for wherever you are on your journey to tech sales. 

Read on to see what this alumni had to say. (more…)

Is Your Employee Lifecycle Equitable? Recap

Is Your Employee Lifecycle Equitable? Recap

“Equity is the acknowledgment that we have a history of unfairness in the United States and society as a whole,” says Hakemia Jackson, the moderator of our latest webinar with ThinkHuman and 15Five

“In many ways, reparation is needed to even that playing field. But when will we get to the point where we can simply say that we’re all on a level playing field? That’s when we can all bring equality into the equation.

However, we’re nowhere near that. And so at this moment, we have to engage in a conversation about equity. And until these systems of oppression are completely dismantled, we cannot have a conversation about equality because it doesn’t exist.”

Equity is not just a trendy topic that has caught fire in recent years. It’s a mainstay in the people operations field because it’s crucial for creating fair, safe workspaces that give everyone equal access to upward mobility. 

Last week, we partnered with ThinkHuman and 15Five to host a webinar with five of the brightest minds in people operations, Francesca Walker, Jennie Yang, Kavita Vora, Shaan Hathiramani, and Hakemia Jackson to discuss employee lifecycle equitability. 

Read on to learn about the key takeaways from the webinar. 

What Is an Equitable Employee Lifecycle and Why Is it Crucial for the Modern Workforce?

An equitable employee lifecycle is a framework for creating as much fairness and inclusion as possible in a corporate workforce. Equitable employee lifecycles create psychological safety for their employees, especially ones from marginalized groups, so they can be their authentic selves to work without fear of judgement or punishment. 

Equitable employee lifecycles also create a more fair and objective system for career development, which gives employees the hope and optimism that they can excel in their careers, regardless of their background. 

Make Sure You Stay Aligned With Your Values

After you design an equitable employee lifecycle for your company, you need to ensure that you actually practice what you preach. And according to Francesca Walker, the Assistant Director of Student Experience at New York University, one of the best ways to stay aligned with your values is to make sure that you don’t recreate the trauma that your employees have experienced at past workplaces. 

“If my team is comfortable sharing the ways that they might have experienced harm in other organizations, then I need to ask how can I ensure that I am not reproducing that harm. I think that there’s two things to that. One, it acknowledges that harm has and continues to be done. And two, there’s a commitment to action.”

She went on to say, “Of course, that’s not to say that I’m not going to make mistakes. I’m human. But what we’re doing there is we are opening the conversation to get feedback from the people that we are supporting and constantly holding ourselves accountable to what we say we value. And that puts you in a place of being proactive rather than reactive to what may potentially happen down the line.”

For Jennie Yang, the Vice President of People & Culture at 15Five, setting the tone that you want to hear everyone’s voice at each meeting is also an effective way to stay aligned with your values. It creates a safe space. 

“As a leader, I cultivate psychological safety on my teams at the beginning of our meetings, especially if it’s a brainstorming meeting or a post-mortem. This sets the intention that I want to hear everyone’s voices. I want to hear your opinion, your experience, and create an inclusive environment.”

Jenny added, “Because as we all know, there are going to be colleagues who are louder than others. So I think it’s also a matter of saying, ‘Hey, I want to hear from you’, but not necessarily doing it in a way that calls someone out for not talking. It’s more of an invitation than anything.”

To Hakemia Jackson, asking your employees who identify with marginalized groups about how you can help them reflect and heal the wounds that social injustice has inflicted on them is another way to stay aligned with your values. 

“I know that a lot of institutions, especially higher education institutions, had calls for employees to take a day off to reflect, heal, and deal with the challenges of what’s going on in our society right now. The challenge there is when you have employees who are already overworked, even the idea of taking a day off to heal actually feels unattainable.”

So in this particular moment, Hakemia suggested that what we should be doing is looking to our colleagues who identify with the Asian-American community and, “Ask them, ‘What can I take off of your plate right? And yes, you can actually have this time to heal.’ Those are the kinds of questions that we want to be asking from a place of genuinity so we can embody our values.”

How to Get the Majority to Commit to Equitable Employee Lifecycles

At first glance, it might seem like getting the majority to commit to equitable employee lifecycles might be a tall order. But according to Kavita Vora, the former Chief People Officer at Splice, Jopwell, and MakerBot, creating a safe space for them to discuss diversity and inclusion can clear a path towards greater understanding. 

“The majority needs psychological safety too. That’s why it’s important to create a space where we can provide them with feedback on how they are doing along the continuum of understanding cultural mindsets and how they can progress further along that continuum. Something that we did in my last company is ask the board and the executive team to take a self-assessment called the IDI continuum, where you can assess how you view yourself and people who are different from you.”

Through that, Kavita revealed, “We were able to see where we are and where we think we are. And newsflash, everyone thought they were further along than they actually were, including me. So we all learned that we have work to do and have blind spots and areas to focus on.”

In addition to creating a safe space to talk about diversity and inclusion, Hakemia Jackson recommends being human and realizing that everyone makes mistakes and is capable of change. This not only helps you bring the majority guard’s down but also makes them more receptive to your diversity and inclusion efforts. 

“You have to understand that mistakes and missteps happen and you’re not at a point of no return when it happens. You can repair harm. I don’t think that people hear this enough. You actually have the ability to repair harm that you’ve done.” 

3 Actions Organizations Take Right Now

In order to create as much equity as possible in the workforce, there are three actions that organizations can make today: Invest in coaching, add a bias checker to the compensation and promotion process, and fully commit to employee equitability. Here are three final actionable takeaways from this panel: 

Coaching

“Get coaching. If you need to tap into third-party organizations, do it. Whatever you do, you have to make sure that you’re committed to equitability and viewing it as a value add instead of a cost on your balance sheet.” –Hakemia Jackson

Bias Checkers

“Add a bias checker to the compensation and promotion process. That’s a big trend I’m seeing. So whether it’s somebody at your company or a neutral third party that trains managers on different types of bias, you need to have somebody who can call out bias if they think they are seeing it. It’ll make a huge difference in the compensation and promotion process and make employees feel that it’s more transparent and fair.” – Kavita Vora

Full Commitment 

“There are no half measures in this type of work. If your company supports initiatives that make you feel like you’re comfortable bringing your authentic self to work, but you do a sales call and your manager tells you to speak with more polish or professionalism, then that dissonance means that no matter how many resources that you’ve poured into employee equitability, there’s still more work to do.”

Shaan went on to suggest that:

“Viewing this work as a value as opposed to something that needs to be optimized and can hit a number will help many folks realize that they are part of a system that has centuries of compounding privilege in the workplace. This is full court press kind of work. Because even if there is a hint of that dissonance I mentioned above, then all the energy put into your initiatives is for not.” – Shaan Hathiramani, CEO of Flockjay

Want to learn more? To further digest this valuable information, watch the full webinar.

 

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?